Metascore
57

Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Priya Jain
    100
    To call Towelhead exploitative is to miss the point. What made Towelhead the novel so extraordinary was the honesty in Jasira's adolescent narrative voice, the genuine way she misguidedly, but honestly, conflates the sexual attention she receives with the parental affection she really needs. With the film, Ball, though he drops the book's first person narration, is faithful to that voice.
  2. Reviewed by: Zack Haddad
    100
    Racism, teen sex, and war are all hot button issues. When you are a young person these things can seem new and confusing. In Alan Ball’s genius Towelhead, all of those above mentioned subjects go hand-in-hand in a truly wonderful cinematic experience.
  3. Alternately disturbing, laceratingly satirical and affectingly poignant, the film, which he adapted from the novel, Towelhead, by Alicia Erian, is very much a companion piece to the Ball-penned "American Beauty" in its unwavering examination of the dirty little secrets and raging hypocrisies lurking just beyond all those manicured suburban lawns.
  4. 88
    The movie puts Jasira -- and the audience -- through the wringer, but it also makes the ride worth it.
  5. The result is a movie about the many forms of social and sexual abuse that does not make the abusee a victim but victor.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    The movie belongs to the fifth-billed Bishil, a truly gutsy young actress who captures the essence of young female desire in all its adolescent confusion.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 3 out of 13
  1. JenniferK
    Jan 6, 2010
    9
    Funny, sad, disgusting, rivetting, nauseating, feel-good movie- Summer Bashil is definitely the star of the movie- One of the best movies I have seen in a long time- at times I didn't know wheter to vomit, cry shout or laugh- some consider this movie to be an unrealistic after school special on the dangers of inappropriate touching, for me the movie seemed very real-to-life. Full Review »
  2. Dale
    Aug 12, 2009
    4
    The film is artless, harsh, an stripped of any mystery. The performances are good, and Summer Bishi is highly promising. I'm glad I saw it just to see her fine work. Full Review »
  3. JH
    Feb 3, 2009
    9
    This is an important and entertaining movie that involves some very unsettling issues. Although the main character has a Middle Eastern background, that particular fact is not the crux of the matter. This movie is really about teenage sexuality, and it is certain to disturb almost everyone to some degree. All you have to do is look at the negative reviews to see how much some people were offended. Despite all that, this is a very good movie that should be viewed and seriously contemplated. I encourage you to watch it, and before you judge harshly, think back to your own adolescence and ask yourself, "is this movie an accurate and authentic depiction of teenage sexuality?" I think Alan Ball is courageous for making this movie, and I think that it is authentic to a degree that will make most religious people hopping mad. Full Review »